Author`s name Olga Savka

Pop contest in Latvia's Yurmala falls short of expectations

The same faces, the same biased attitude to contenders

I strongly suspect that the young talents contests this country has been awash in the last few years are not really meant to bring forth new talents. And my suspicions are growing stronger as years go by. Some people hoped that New Wave could have changed the situation though some venomous tongues asserted that the Igor Krotoy would be filling the contest's jury and a list of contenders with his proteges.

This year Mr. Krutoy had an excellent opportunity to prove that his intentions were totally different. Given the setbacks the festival had to overcome. Part of the problems related to TV coverage. The problems arouse out of a fallout between Mr. Krutoy and Mr. Ernst, a TV magnate. But the conflict between them should be their own private business. It should have no impact on the product. Alas, the damage was done. To be more precise, pessimists' fears eventually came true. The worst prophecies with respect to the New Wave, and not only with respect to the above, took shape as predicted.

Bearing in mind that Mr. Krutoy did his utmost to secure TV broadcast on NTV channel, we could have expected something more of the festival. Unfortunately, nothing changed. The same faces, the same biased attitude to contenders. Nothing actually changed when the brothers Meladze were made part of the jury (it was a highly predictable move since the brothers' pet project Via Gra had been put on the list).

No putting up of hands is required for making a shortlist of finalists. All you have to do is watch the unnatural concentration on the faces of the members of the jury on TV. Looks like some of them are lousy actors of never took any acting lessons at all because they could not even fake “compassion” for the participants. On the other hand, do they really have to fake it? It was no use of voting because nobody doubted the win of a contender from Latvia no matter how ridiculous and nondescript he might be in terms of music and esthetics. His winning position was secured by the presence of maestro Raymond Pauls at the jury. As regards Ukraine, the situation is quite clear too. Two contenders represented that beautiful country. One looked like a midget velvet blond and the other one was Filip Kirkorov's spit and image. Meanwhile, all more or less interesting and technically competent seekers of the title could only get 8 points out of 10 at a 10-point scale at best. It does not seem to hurt yet the finals are out of the question with the results like that.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Igor Krutoy's facial mannerisms are often self-explanatory. He simply can not conceal an outburst of emotions inside his soul as he does his appraisal. It is a sad and very predictable sight. I would rather believe in Alla Pugacheva's objectivity. However, some reports say she was paid $500 thousand for participation in Yurmala's event. In any case, if the above lady develops a liking for some young talent, she will let it show. At least I want to believe that it is going to happen this way. Otherwise all those pompous festival are simply a waste of money and time. For how long the media are going to describe the Russian show business as a small-town, corrupt, mafia-like structure? Will the adjective “professional” ever come to good use?

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